Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Berkshire: Bigger than Wal-Mart? Maybe Soon" (BRK-A; BRK-B; WMT)

Not market moving stuff but interesting none-the-less.
From Barron's Stocks To Watch Today blog (yesterday):

Shares of Warrent Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) probably have more room to run — maybe a lot more. It could even displace Wal-Mart (WMT) sometime soon as the third highest publicly traded U.S. stock.

Yesterday, Berkshire’s class “A” shares (BRKA) hit a high of $124,094, which, with 1.65 million A shares issued, briefly gave the company a market cap of $204.7 billion, rivaling the market cap of Wal-Mart.

(Mind you, that’s including the “A equivalent” of all B shares outstanding — B shares are worth 1/1500th of an A share, and they get summed to arrive at the total issued share count. Published share counts on the Web haven’t yet caught up with the fact that Berkshire issued 95,000 class A shares in January as part of its $26.5 billion purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe. That’s why you may still see counts of only 1.55 million A-equivalent shares issued.)

It’s an amazing achievement for Buffett, 79, who joined Berkshire 45 years ago and has built its book value for each Class A share from $19 dollars to north of $84,000.

And Berkshire could probably go higher. As my colleague, and Berkshire watcher, Andrew Bary points out, BRKA trades at about 1.5 times book value now, but it has, and can be, higher than that....MORE